Car accidents remain an unfortunate reality, with traffic collisions being a frequent occurrence. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) report, the United States witnesses over 6 million car accidents annually. These lead to nearly 3 million physical injuries and over 40,000 wrongful deaths. Our West Palm Beach Car Accident Attorneys gathered the top 16 causes of car accidents
1. Distracted Driving (including Texting while driving)
Distracted driving is an issue of serious concern, as per the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Distracted driving refers to any activity that diverts a driver’s attention away from the road, such as texting, chatting, eating, or adjusting the radio. Distractions such as these can require you to take your hands off the steering wheel, your eyes off the road, and your mind off driving – all of which elevate the risk of accidents significantly. Texting while driving can be particularly hazardous, as it combines all these forms of distraction, making it a serious causative factor behind many road accidents.
2. Speeding (Not obeying the speed limit/Driving too fast)
Speeding or driving beyond the set speed limit is another dominant contributor to traffic accidents in the United States. Speeding involves driving faster than the speed limit or too fast for the road conditions. When drivers speed, they increase the severity of potential crashes and decrease the effectiveness of safety devices such as seat belts and airbags. Speeding not only risks causing vehicular damage but also contributes to concerns, including excessive fuel use and environmental pollution.
3. Driving Under the Influence (Drunk driving/Impaired driving)
Driving under the influence (DUI) involves driving while affected by alcohol or drugs, both legal and illegal. When drivers are under the influence, their judgment, vision, coordination, and reaction time can all be impaired significantly. This dangerous practice can result in critical consequences, including being penalized with jail time or, worse, causing fatal road accidents.
4. Reckless/Aggressive Driving
Reckless or aggressive driving is when someone operates a vehicle in an unsafe way and shows a disregard for the rules of the road. This can include speeding much faster than the speed limit, weaving through traffic, ignoring traffic signs and signals, making unsafe lane changes, tailgating, and not yielding the right of way. Aggressive driving can also involve hostile actions like honking the horn excessively, flashing headlights, rude gestures, or shouting at other drivers. This behavior can increase the risk of accidents and can sometimes escalate into road rage, which may lead to confrontations, assaults, and collisions that could cause injuries or even death.
5. Running Red Lights and Disobeying Traffic Signals
Running red lights or disobeying traffic signals involves the disregard of traffic laws and signals. Such practices lead to an increased risk of high-impact accidents, especially at intersections. Remember, obeying all traffic signals is a simple yet crucial preventative measure to reduce the likelihood of road accidents.
6. Driver Inexperience (Teen drivers)
Driver inexperience mainly concerns young or new drivers who lack crucial driving experience. As they might not fully understand potential hazards and dangerous situations, they are statistically more prone to accidents. Graduated Driver Licensing (GDL) programs help new drivers gain experience under less risky conditions.
7. Weather Conditions
Adverse weather conditions such as rain, snow, fog, or strong wind present unpredicted road hazards. These elements can potentially affect drivers’ visibility and their vehicle’s control adversely. Therefore, adapting to the changing weather, avoiding travel during extreme conditions, and adhering to official guidelines are essential steps to counteract these risks.
8. Failure to Yield
Failure to yield occurs when drivers neglect to obey right-of-way laws. This means not allowing others on the road, be it pedestrians or other drivers, to proceed when they are supposed to. Such a lapse in proper road etiquette can escalate to dangerous situations, resulting in collisions. It’s a significant contributing factor in numerous road fatalities.
9. Drowsy Driving
Drowsy driving occurs when a person who is too tired or sleepy tries to operate a vehicle. This can reduce their alertness and concentration, slow reaction times, and take their focus off the road, leading to potentially serious accidents. Long journeys or minimal rest can exacerbate drowsiness. It’s essential to adequately rest before a trip and take regular breaks or naps. Swapping drivers on long journeys can also be a valuable safety measure.
10. Improper Road Conditions
Improper road conditions can involve anything from damaged surfaces and potholes to debris on the road or unclear road signs. These can pose unexpected dangers and increase the risk of accidents. Drivers can mitigate risks by conducting regular vehicle maintenance checks and reporting unsafe road conditions to the relevant authorities.
11. Improper Turns
Improper turns involve making a turn without following the appropriate legal procedures and safety measures. This can include illegal U-turns, failing to indicate, or executing turns hastily, risking confusion and endangering other road users. To avoid accidents, drivers should plan their moves, execute turns safely, and always signal their intentions.
12. Car Defects Linked to Risky Driving Behavior
Car defects refer to any malfunctions or problems with a vehicle that could affect its performance and safety. This could include issues with brakes, steering systems, airbags, seat belts, or tires. These defects, while not necessarily the driver’s fault, can contribute significantly to road accidents.
13. Driving in the Wrong Direction
Driving in the wrong direction involves driving against the flow of traffic, particularly on one-way roads and highways. These instances frequently result in head-on collisions or T-bone car accidents, which are often severe and lead to wrongful death. Situational awareness and a clear understanding of road signs can prevent such situations.
14. Poor Vehicle Maintenance
Poor vehicle maintenance indicates neglect in keeping a vehicle in optimum working condition. This includes not timely replacing deteriorated brakes or tires, using defective seat belts, and skipping scheduled oil changes. Proper vehicle maintenance can improve the safety, reliability, and longevity of the car, lowering the likelihood of breakdowns and crashes.
15. Unsafe Lane Changes
Unsafe lane changes involve shifting lanes without ensuring they are safe or without signaling. Abrupt lane changing can catch other drivers off-guard, compelling them to brake sharply, swerve, or collide with the vehicle. To avoid accidents, drivers should use their mirrors, give appropriate signals, and ensure the lane is clear before changing lanes.
16. Not Following Pedestrian Rules
Not following pedestrian rules involves failing to yield to pedestrians when warranted, often in marked crosswalks or busy areas. It is essential for drivers to respect pedestrian rights of way and stay vigilant in areas with heavy foot traffic, like school zones, parks, or shopping districts. Exercising caution around pedestrians is a simple but effective way to enhance road safety for everyone.
If you’ve been impacted by a car accident, please contact Felice Trial Attorneys. Our specialized services, tailored to the unique needs of car accident cases, ensure that you receive expert legal support. We focus on gathering crucial evidence, assessing damages, and maximizing your compensation. Trust us to guide you through the legal process with ease and effectiveness. Contact us for a free case evaluation, and let us help you navigate this challenging time with our professional and dedicated assistance.